The Toronto Raptors took their third straight win as they downed the Miami Heat 112-104 at the Air Canada Centre in match up 6 of a 7 game home stand. DeMar DeRozan top scored for the night with a massive 38 points as he again led the Raptors to victory, Kyle Lowry (16) and Jonas Valanciunas (20) both chipped in while James Johnson also managed double figure points with 10. Joe Johnson led the scoring for Miami with 28 and the Heat did well to share the points around. The Raptors took a 7 point lead into half time but found themselves down at the final change with Miami stepping up to outscore Toronto 25-17 in the third, benefiting from a disappearance in the Raptors shooting ability, if not for a late Patrick Patterson 3 with 7 seconds left the team would have only managed 14 points for the quarter. The Raptors bounced back well in the final quarter and seemingly had the win, holding a 5 point lead with just under two minutes to play. Miami however was able to bring it back despite both Hassan Whiteside and Justise Winslow missing pivotal free throw attempts. DeRozan hit two free throws with 12 seconds to go which extended the lead to 97-94 but a huge Luol Deng 3 tied the game and although Toronto had time to inbound DeRozan missed the what would have been the winning basket. In overtime Patrick Patterson opened up the game from range after DeRozan was able to pinch the ball from Goran Dragic for a clutch steal and assist, from there the Raptors found great success in getting to the free throw line. mainly through DeRozan again, while strong defence also pulled through finally allowing the Raptors win 44 of the season.
Until over time it was a relatively low scoring affair with only the free throw line accounting for most of the Raptors late points, in both the fourth quarter and OT. The third quarter aside the Raptors did pretty well and really got going in OT which can often be difficult having given up the lead so late. The shooting was poor overall as the team managed just 33% from range, Lowry ended up going 4-16 from the field and 2-8 beyond the arc. DeMar DeRozan put up a total of 26 shots but got the job done in the end, he also managed 7 assists and 10 rebounds for the double double. Patrick Patterson was the unsung hero of the night he went 3-4 from range including the go ahead basket in OT and managed 4 offensive rebounds which helped him finish with the highest +/- impact in the game (+14).
It was a very mixed bag tonight, on one side the Raptors gave up too many late points and Miami scoring just seemed too easy when Toronto was trying to close out the game, that being said in OT the Raptors definitely got it done, giving up just 7 overall points and taking the victory to go. To highlight this fact the Heat scored zero points in the final 2 and a half minutes and this helped bring their field shooting percentage down to 37%, if it were not for OT they would have had a lot higher. The ability to get key stops tonight led the Raptors through but the game really should have been shut in regulation. Especially against a Heat side going back to back and resting Dwyane Wade.
Both Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan had double doubles in managing 10 boards each but overall the team was out done 42-47 in this department. The Heat have been a strong rebounding team and even though Hassan Whiteside’s 11 was the only one in double figures for the visitors, every one of their players who saw minutes bar Jason Richardson (who still managed 3) had at least 5. The Raptors could have used more boards in this game especially from Luis Scola (0) and Bismack Biyombo (4). The Raptors poor shooting in the third also accounted for a lot of Miami’s rebounds tonight, the team still managed 42 and against a tall, athletic Miami side it goes down okay, especially with the W.
Game Ball: DeMar DeRozan
DeRozan and Patterson both have claims to this and to a lesser extent so does Valanciunas. In the end though 38 points including 7 in OT gets DeRozan the reward. He also got the pivotal steal on Dragic and then dished out to Patterson which allowed the Raptors to get away. DeRozan’s ability to get to the free throw line has already been very important and again shone through tonight when the team needed it most. The Raptors have many players that are capable of taking over but tonight it was the long standing DeRozan who got us home.